Jonathan Faber: Material, Big Medium Gallery
The Material of Big Medium
Big Medium is a small, concrete floored art gallery that has no acoustics and no distractions from the art hanging on the walls. Jonathan Faber’s series, Material, covers all three of the available walls. He uses a variety of canvas sizes and incorporates small, printer paper, and chalk pastel sketches for reference and interpretation. This exhibition hangs an all available walls, three in total, with the smaller works exiled to the outer sides. The focus is saved for the two large oil-paint canvases. Like moths to a flame, gallery visitors are held spellbound by the center pieces on the main wall.
These two paintings force the audience into recognizing and acknowledging their size. They are both largely one color with thin lines, meant to oppose and contrast the main color’s boldness. By looking closely at the bold white lines on the right painting’s solid blue, Faber’s creation of sharpness by using tape as a marker and guideline is highly noticeable. The left painting is a field of safety vest orange and has a soccer field like schematic traced onto it in lime green. In reference to the blue work’s lines, Faber also decided to use tape all the way to the canvas. He layers colors and goes over formerly covered areas, sometimes twice. Faber mixes and switches between oil and acrylic paints, adding a depth similar to what an underpainting would cause. This back and forth of neon color and stark lines creates a sense of playfulness, the use of doodle-like symbols, such as stars and asterisks, conjures up memories of childhood art that was once proudly exhibited on the refrigerator.
Faber experiments with his paintings in way that are borderline sketches. His endeavor is successful due to a combination of two things: a commitment to large swaths of bold color and the acknowledgement of his lines’ temporality through the use of chalk pastel. Faber’s work affects an investigation into a memorial of — both long-lasting and ephemeral – fun. He searches for the key notes of such a time, finding them in the motifs of simple shapes done in unforgettable colors in his exhibition. The choice to display Material was a smart one. The gallery’s lack of extravagant amenities keeps in line with Faber’s theme of simpleness, along with his avoidance of over-necessary complexity.
Like the layers of paint, Faber draws notice to the various ways and forms his lines take throughout the gallery. In some, specifically in the bold blue painting, the sharpness of the lines are what call for attention. In others, Faber wants the objectness of his work to be a focus, reminding people that his painting were once based in reality. The use of significantly tactile methods, leaving obvious traces of tape, and bringing forward the practice of pastel drawings only emphasizes the potential impermanence of his work. Through the brightness of colors and ungrounded symbols, Faber encourages everyone to salvage the importance of fun.